At the December 6, 2012 meeting of the Board of Directors, Ron Fieseler, General Manager of the Blanco-Pedernales Groundwater Conservation District briefed the Board on declining aquifer levels in District monitor wells, decreasing flow in the Blanco and Pedernales Rivers, recent rainfall history, and extended weather forecasts.
After some discussion, the Board of Directors urged the General Manager to track conditions and declare Stage One Drought (Mild Drought) conditions for Blanco County groundwater users if condition did not improve by the end of 2012.
Since condition have not improved during the last month, the General Manager has declared Drought Stage One for all of Blanco County with an effective date of January 1, 2013. This declaration will continue until further notice.
Under Stage One, the District's Drought Rules ask for voluntary reductions in groundwater use of 5-10% for all Blanco County groundwater users
District-declared drought conditions affect only well owners and those whose water supply is provided by water wells, such as the City of Johnson City. Individuals and public water systems that rely on other sources, such as rain water or surface water, are not required to comply with drought reductions required by the District, but may find it prudent to incorporate conservation measures in order to help reduce demand on their supplies.
According to Fieseler, the 5-10% reduction in use is an easy goal to achieve and will help reduce the demand on the aquifer. Luckily, outside watering demands are at a minimum during the winter months so we have time to get used to water conservation techniques before the arrival of higher water use months. "The greatest water savings can be found by incorporating water-efficient landscape irrigation practices. Reduction goals can be easily achieved by watering established lawns and plants once every 5-7 days during times of no rainfall. Use of decorative or landscape water fountains or similar water features should also cease in order to conserve water," says Fieseler. He added that water is most effectively applied to lawns, shrubs, and trees between 8 o'clock in the evening and 8 o'clock in the morning when evaporative losses are less. If new landscape plantings are planned, he recommends considering drought tolerant species and using water-efficient irrigation techniques.
Rather than the normal monthly visits to the District Monitor Wells, District staff members will begin measuring water levels on almost a weekly basis due to the dry conditions.
The District expects that cooperation in reducing groundwater usage by everyone, from private well owners up to the biggest users, should result in lower demands, and this may help put off the need to impose other, more restrictive Drought Stages.
Questions may be directed to the District Office in Johnson City at (830) 868-9196.